Monday, May 11, 2015

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

I was just listening to a youtube video of a sermon and this quote was in it. And I heard it. I really heard it.

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

The idea that there are these moments in our life, when we are lifted and struck like a bell, is really beautiful to me. To me, it is in these moments where I can feel or see God, whoever or whatever he may be. It is the moments where things feel clear and right and good and you feel like shouting out that I can feel that there is something more to this life.

Why don't we share these moments more? Is it because we don't realize they are happening or because we quickly forget them? In the sermon, the minister hypothesizes that it is because we are scared of being judged or misunderstood and so we water down these clear, bell-like moments into lukewarm ones. 

My Instagram has been a great way to surface journal the past couple of years of my life. I have thousands of photos of trips and dogs and houses and friends and it is really fun to look back and see how much fun I have had. But do I put those bell-like moments out there for the world to see? No, I don't. And I need to keep track of them - I need to remind myself about those moments of clarity in which I don't water down to lukewarm. In which I record as I remember them so that I can see trends in what makes me feel clearest.

This sermon was one of them. It was given by a minster named Aaron White who preaches at the local Unitarian Church in Dallas - I have been going there from time to time when I feel like I might die from going to my local mormon ward. I have come home crying more times than not the past few times I have gone to mormon church - I have felt alone, and isolated, and different and like I don't belong. I have prayed to feel good when I go, only to feel anxious and sick once I arrive. I feel like the dumbest kid in class - the one who isn't in on the secret because I don't KNOW what everyone else does. Like I said in my previous post - faith and belief (IE - admitting to not knowing things are true) is not seen as a positive thing in the mormon faith, and it is insanely hard to go someplace where you feel that you not only don't fit in, but someplace where you are actually not valued for who you are. 

I have felt some bell ringing moments listening to sermons like the one on youtube at the local Unitarian church. I have felt like I can breathe. I used to feel that at mormon church - in general conference, mostly - but haven't felt like that for a long time. This past general conference was especially brutal - I felt like I was holding my breath or biting my tongue with almost every talk that was given (except Uchdorf. I love that man) What does that mean? It is to the point that I am scared to go to mormon church because I am afraid of coming home in tears again. Is it okay to not go, when it is so incredibly painful?  Is it wrong of me to want to avoid that pain, that shame, that feeling of unwelcomeness? Is it bad I don't want to sit alone, I don't want to be ignored, I don't want to feel left out because I am not in the same mould that everyone else seems to be made in?

I was talking with a friend and she said that religion is a tool to help us find God - find those bell-ringing moments in our life where we find clarity. And that if that tool, or religion, stops helping us - we put it down and pick something else up. There is still so much I value about the mormon church - the way that it helps its own, the doctrine of eternal families, the level of commitment it requires of your life - that I'm not sure I am ready to put it down. But am I allowed to hold two tools - one in each hand - to help me find God? I have always thought that any other church would feel wrong - and in the past, when I attended other churches, they did. No bells were ringing for me - other than those in the bell tower. So what does it mean that I feel this way now? And not in a church that has the sign I was raised with out front? 

This is the most raw and real post I have probably ever written on this blog, other than my ones about depression (which surprise! a lot of which had to do with how I felt about church), and this is way way way scarier to put out there. But here it is. I am fragile and trying to figure out what the heck is going on in my life. Hopefully this blog can be a safe place for me to do it. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The things they don't tell you

So, lately, I have been questioning everything about my life. It has led me to some really interesting conclusions and some really good discussions with friends that are more honest and refreshing than I can remember having in years. It has also led me to understand SO much more about so many more people who I used to judge harshly and have so much more compassion.

I have never been good at compassion. Anyone can tell you that who knows me well. And while I still think idiots are idiots, I try to not be as strongly worded with my judgements of those around me, and try to think about where they might be coming from or going thru to act the way that they do. It blows my mind that I was stuck in such an incredibly small view of right and wrong and good and bad for such a long time - I think it was because since I went to BYU, almost everyone I have been friends with or hung out with has been Mormon. Since we moved to Dallas and I started my job at the restaurant, I have been hanging out with a lot of different people and it is awesome to see that people are happy - really, truly happy - outside my small box of what I have always thought life should look like to be happy. It has helped me appreciate the things in my life that I might not think are perfect, but are still pretty great things.

I had almost forgotten what it was like to have discussions with people and have to explain where my basic principles or morals come from - and I certainly don't remember ever having my basis of belief challenged. It is so good for me, I think, to be able to look outside myself and question if those base beliefs that I have just accepted for my entire life actually work for ME. Personally. And I have been surprised at what I actually know is true and what I only hope is true.

In the LDS church, you hear "I know the church is true" over and over and over again. It has always made me uncomfortable - the amount people claim to know. I have never felt like I have known much of anything, but I have had a whole lot of hope. It is easy to feel different or wrong when you don't have the same knowledge as everyone else - it is easy to feel stupid or not good enough when you hear that if you pray, you will know one specific answer. What happens when you don't get that answer? It means you aren't good enough. So my lack of knowledge, but plethora of faith and hope was actually something that was negative about my personality.

I have decided that I am not the broken one. My hope and faith - the fact that I still am a good person and try to do good to those around me despite not KNOWING anything - makes me who I am, and doesn't mean that I am not worthy or good enough. It actually means that I am stronger than most people - that I have to take this life and use it as good as I possibly can because I don't KNOW that I will have anything after I die - that this life is all that I KNOW I have. And while some people may think that this is sad, the lack of knowledge of where I will end up or go when I die has been liberating. I don't feel like I am waiting - I am doing now what I want to do and being who I want to be without pretenses. It is so nice to be done trying to fit some mould that I felt like I had to fit in to be happy because I am happy right now with who I am and where I am!

This post probably doesn't make any sense to anyone else but it doesn't matter. I just feel really great right now and it is nice. And I just wanted to write it down so I can remember it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The one about my husband turning 28

So, this is really late (almost a month) but here is my annual birthday letter to my favorite man-human in the world. 

Dear Husband, 

I just went thru all of our pictures on the laptop and picked out my favorites of you and you and me and now I am going to tell you why I love them/you. 

You, in London, writing down what we spent on breakfast.

I love that you try to be a good spender of our money - you make budgets and projections, you think about our future, you plan for rainy days. I love that you have become so incredibly good with money that I don't even have to look at our bank account anymore! You have come a long, long way from the boy who I almost didn't marry because he couldn't save $1000. 

Us, on the London Metro.
 I love that you and I get annoyed at the same things. Mostly, stupid people. I love people watching with you - sitting next to you and making snide remarks under our breath or just exchanging a glance and there is no doubt in our minds that we are thinking the exact same thing.

A rare picture of us kissing.
 I love that you kiss me anytime I want. I also love that you know that I don't want to make out in public - I just want a nice kiss to remind me of what your lips feel like on mine (which, BTW, is pretty good). Remember how I taught you how to kiss in High School? Yeah, you learned well.

On the way to HP Studios outside London!
 I love that when you get annoyed with my excessive selfie-game, you make this face. You make it a lot. I don't even care, because I think it is adorable. You are gonna be such a grumpy old man. I can't wait.

Magic is Might Statue.
 I love that you are fair. You want us to be equal partners and you strive to correct yourself when you are having me do an unfair share of housework/cooking/whatever. You are so incredibly good at taking my criticism and turning it into something positive in our relationship. I appreciate that more than you know - the fact that you listen to me and take action on things that I am not happy with. I try to do this as well. I think it is one of the reasons we have such a good marriage.

At WDW with our Haws Kidlets.
 I love that you love our Haws kids. It makes me glad that we have them in our lives, but it makes me so happy when you get excited to see them, or want to plan trips around baptism dates, or when you see something in the store or online and say "Hey, I bet Nate would like that!" I just love that we have created a bond with these little people who love you so much they talk about you even when we live thousands of miles away.
AK safari on a rainy day means ALL THE ANIMALS!
The fact that anytime there is a chance of seeing an animal, you want to do it, makes me happy. I can't wait to take you to the drive-thru zoo in Glenrose and watch you flip your lid at all the animals that come up to our car. I love your unbridled enthusiasm for things -the fact that you aren't afraid that I am going to make fun of you for being excited or for acting like a little boy about things you like. I love your nerdy self, and that you love mine. 

The Smithsonian
I just like this picture because of where your hand is - I like it when you touch me. I like it when you put your hand on my neck or on my waist. I know that is silly, but it just shows me you love me and the more you show me, the better.

I think this is at DFW? 
I love how cold you get. It is really cute, even though I know you hate it. You wear earmuffs and your HP scarf and I just want to hug you real tight. I love it when we are going to bed together (which happens like, once a week these days) when it is cold and you just pull me against you and steal all my heat. It annoys me when you put your freezing cold hands on my warm skin, but I secretly hope you never stop.

Georgetown has Cannons! We had to take a pic orbs.

 I love that you can take what we have and make the absolute best of it - you can roll with the punches and change on a dime when we are traveling and I am SO glad that is true.  I feel like I could never have a better travel buddy than you. As hard as last year was on our schedule, I loved seeing someplace new with you almost every month. I loved the plane rides spent shoulder to shoulder, the new foods, missing our mattress, last minute shows, and everything in between during our trips. I love that you know how important travel is to me - and how much a part of our lives we have been able to make and it and how much we plan on it being part of our future! 

Spoonfuls of peanut butter
I just love this picture that you tried to prevent me from taking. 1. Hogwarts Shirt. 2. Giant spoonful of Peanut Butter 3. Adorable half-ashamed smile. I just like you, okay?

Space Mountain is for the cool kids.
I love that you will take pictures like this with me. And that you will go to WDW with me and enjoy it as much as me. And that my calves look awesome in this picture.

Meeting your hero, Aladdin.
 I love how you geek out when you are happy. Look at the pure joy on your face here. If I could figure out a way to make you look like this more often, I would. It is my favorite kind of David. I am so excited for our year of Disney and how much fun we are going to have going to the parks and experiencing them during different times of the year!

Space Ranger Spin
I love how you think you will beat me at any shooting game and you never do. Except that one time on Toy Story Mania, but I demand a rematch next year. DEMAND IT. I also love that you are a good sport about it. 

DL Paris. 
 I love that you love food. I love going out to eat with you and trying new things. I love that we can critique food. I love that we have a similar taste in food so we can share and try things together. I also love that even though you have a lot of foods you don't LOVE, you will try almost anything once. We learned in Paris that you love Escargot. You like foods you don't think you will and you will eat anything I cook at least once - but you are also honest if you don't like something which is awesome because if you don't like it... why would I make it?!
Lastly, I love your obsessive behavior. You are very particular about things - how the bedroom is when you go to sleep, where all your stuff is, how things are done. Sometimes, it drives me insane, bust mostly I love that you know what you want. Because it means that if you are still with me, it is because you want to be with me. You don't do things you don't want to do, and you overuse the things you like. And from the amount of time we spend together when we aren't working (read: any and all), I am gonna go ahead and say you like me. 

Husband, please keep being you. Because I don't want to be with anyone else.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Its a hard knocked life

Just kidding. My life is awesome.

I am sitting IN. MY. HOUSE. typing this! CRAZY TOWN. We are 80% moved in, 50% unpacked, and the house is maybe 75% done? Haha. Our bedroom and the living room have the trim and stuff done - all that is needed is paint touchup and curtains. I am working on the second bedroom and the hallway tonight finishing trim and then next week I will paint the second bedroom (I think I have settled on a color? maybe?). I am excited to finish the trim everywhere so I can move the saw out of the 3rd bedroom and turn it into my cake room - right now my cake table is in the living room holding up the computer I am typing this on. It . . . doesn't fit in here. At all.  But we also don't have a desk right now (I hated the one we had so we left it at my parents) so we are using what we have! 

Unpacking is the worst - especially because two of the closets don't have shelves/hanging rods and the third closet doesn't have the floor finished and the fourth closet is full of construction crap. I gotta finish all that stuff this week so we can get our stuff all the way out of my parents house so that I can deep clean it! Baaaah. And then I need to do some kind of job until the end of the year so we can like, afford food and stuff. HOUSES ARE EXPENSIVE. 


Maybe someday I will put up some pictures. Until then, please view my instagram feed. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

On and on it goes

Life is in full swing right now. (well, not right now, because I am laying on the couch writing this, but at this general time, it is).

We leave for 3 weeks in Europe in less than 3 weeks! We spent all day Weds shopping (it was brutal) and I still didn't find jeans I love and need a couple more shirts. David, however, is totally done with his entire wardrobe. I hate him a little bit.

The house is moving along. The subfloors are all in, we put some paint up on the walls, and now we are waiting for my dad to help install and spray the trim and doors and then I can start the floors! We are trying to be hopeful about getting it done, but my Dad has started Nursing School and so things are just moving a bit slower. Once he helps install the doors and paints the trim, I think we are going to be able to do everything else ourselves, tho! Yippeeee!

Albus is still adorable. Can't believe we have had him a year! Love him and can't wait to move into our new house and for him to have a fenced back yard and lots of trails to go walking on! Yipeeeee!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Its not a project unless it makes itself into 100 times more work.

Soooooooo yeah. We still aren't in the house. Why? We have to replace the flooring. Why? Because they were more damaged than we thought. GREEEAT. Just another expensive, unforeseen expense from moving the wall. Yaaay.

So we are bleeding money and time, but whatever. Its fine. I am about to make dinner for David, then go meet someone about a little job/project, then go to the house and cut all around the perimeter of the rooms so that on Friday Night, David and I can have date night i.e.: pulling up all the floors. Fun times, right? Then next week we have to hire someone to come dig out a crawl space under the house, put that dirt somewhere (we are thinking of building a retaining wall?) and then add a plywood subfloor. Yeah, no subfloors in 90 year old houses. Awesome. 1k just in plywood.

The hardwood is supposed to be here next Saturday, then it has to sit for a week before I can install it. During THAT week, I am going to try to get all the painting done. Then install the hardwoods. Then move all our stuff over. Then go to Europe for 3 weeks. Then move in.

The good news is, we are going to have seamless hardwoods in all the rooms except the kitchen and the bathroom, we will have a subfloor which means we will have a comfortable, way more energy efficient house, and we will have a crawl space for any future plumbing or whatever that has to get done.

Oh yeah, we found a dog and puppies under the house the other day and took them to the shelter. David then covered the hole with bricks (that were around a tree for no apparent reason). Hopefully we don't find anything else hiding out under there.

It will all be worth it in the end. It will all be worth it in the end. It will all be worth it in the end.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


SOOOO we bought a house! Haha. How is that for skipping over the past 4 months?

Lemme tell you about it. (Novel follows)

3 bedroom, 1 bath.  1,200ish sq feet. It was built in 1924. It was redone (really cheaply) in December and had been on the market for 6 months. It has original hardwoods that are patched all kinds of a horrible, but we are fixing them and they will look perfect in all the rooms except for the back bedroom, which will eventually be redone with a bathroom to be the master.  We had to sacrifice that flooring to patch the rest of the house. Different flooring will be installed once we figure out/save for the bathroom addition. For now, the back bedroom will be my cake room and have beautiful plywood flooring! Haha. But doing it this way will also allow us to even out the floors in that bedroom, because we can't fix the foundation in that area b/c of the bathroom (which is shares a wall with) so win/win!

We have already moved a wall to switch the living room and the front bedroom, making a small bedroom for our bedroom that will be soundproofed with special sheetrock that cost an arm and a leg so that David can have a nice sleeping cave for his vampire sleeping hours and I can actually watch TV or cook while he is asleep. Moving the wall also made the living room gigantic. I don't know if any houses built in the 20's had a living room this big. It was a stupidly big bedroom, but had a big closet taking up a ton of space. We don't really understand the layout of the house - we have been trying to figure out as we take apart walls and stuff what the heck the function of stuff has been but still don't really have a good idea! There are two front doors, and there are several duplex's in the area, but it was built as a single family and only has one bathroom and kitchen and the hardwoods are original in the two front rooms that we think were connected by a doorway at one time, so it is a mystery! But as is, we have a really good size living room (every time I have looked at it since we moved the wall I have had a slight freak out about how awesome it will be!) and 2 small bedrooms (the back bedroom is pretty small, but we think will work well as the master, as long as they don't have a king bed) and one pretty good sized bedroom that we will be using as the guest room! The bathroom is my favorite room in the house, except the vanity! So that will eventually be replaced as well.

This week, my Dad and I are finishing the electrical and the sheet rocking, the A/C guy is coming to move a vent and a pipe outside, they are coming to work on the foundation (they did a bunch of stuff last year, and we have a warrantee on it) to even out some floors and then the texture guys are coming next Monday, and then the floors guys will come after we get back from Minnesota to refinish the hardwoods that I am going to repair before the come with the wood from the back bedroom!

We closed on the 21st of July and are hoping to move in on the 25th of August!

We started going to our new ward today. LOTS of young couples, I think we will have good friends! We are apparently one of just a very small handful of homeowners in the ward - everyone else lives in this huge apartment complex called the Village or in other apartments in Deep Ellum or such. Lots of newly graduated ppl and a lot of students. Small youth, big primary and bigger nursery. A lot like Irving but WAAAAAAY bigger. They filled up the entire chapel and overflow and the gym! It was nuts.

My most favorite thing about the house is the area it is in. We are 3 minutes from Whole Foods. 6 minutes from Trader Joes. 7 mins from the church building. 10 mins from Central Market. 8 mins from Sam's club. 12 mins from my Roller Derby rink (oh yeah, I started doing that!). And the biggest selling factor was the proximity to White Rock lake. It is so close and I am so excited to live next to it! We are 3 miles (about 7 mins by car - 21 mins by bike!) from The Arboretum. The Santa Fe Trail, which opened in 2011, is a block West of us and goes all the way from Deep Ellum up to White Rock, and then White Rock lake of course has a trail that goes all the way around it. Two blocks west of us (after you pass the community garden!!!!) there is the Samuell Grand Park, which is a 78 (!!) acre park that has everything!!! It is where they hold Shakespeare in the park! They have 20 tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and an awesome, newly remodeled Rec center with a billion community programs and basically my dream life is coming true.  Haha.

Our actual neighborhood, Mount Auburn, is "gentrifying" which is a nice way of saying it is sort of the ghetto but it is getting nicer. We are one block south of Hollywood Heights, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Dallas (it is where I would love to buy our forever house after David is done with Grad school!) - it has tudor style homes form the 20's and 30's with fantastic yards. It is a historic preservation district. The reason we bought in Mount Auburn is because 1) Despite what the bank said, we couldn't afford to spend what it would have cost to live in Hollywood Heights and 2) I really do think Mount Auburn is getting MUCH nicer! It was just announced last month that the elementary school we are districted for is turning into a Montessori school (which will be run like a charter school, I guess - so public, but selective?) and as Dallas improved the trails and rec center and everything down by us recently, I do think that in the next 5-10 years, the most ghetto houses in the neighborhood will get sold and redone. I have my eye on the duplex across the street from us - it is def the UGLIEST house on our street, but would be awesome redone and I am just the girl to do it!

We have already met our next door neighbor (we are on a corner) and he is super nice. He is at the tail end of a 2 year renovation on his house, owns a Pizza joint right across from Fair Park, and fosters rescue beagles! Still have to meet the rest of the neighbors, but that will come!

Basically, our goal is to be in Dallas 2-3 more years before going to Grad School and then we will rent out this house while we are in Grad school, come back, live in it for a few years until we pay off our student loans, then move up into Hollywood Heights or another Dallas neighborhood.

My camera is at the house, but I took before pictures! I will take some during photos tomorrow, and the after photos, of course, will come as well!